Tax Tip Tuesday: Driving for Charity Can Be Deductible

Stephen Fishman
Tax expert and contributor MileIQ

Most people know that you can deduct the cost of driving when you are on business (not including commuting from home to work). But most people don’t know that it is also possible to deduct driving expenses when you do good deeds—that is when you volunteer for a charity.

For example, you can deduct your driving expenses if you drive each week to a local hospital to volunteer. You can deduct either

  1. Your actual expenses (primarily gas and oil) or
  2. Use the standard charitable mileage rate of 14 cents per mile.

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Because the standard charitable mileage rate is so low—it hasn’t been adjusted in many years–it’s often better to use the actual expense method. You can also deduct parking fees and tolls, whichever method you use.

As with any charitable deduction, however, this deduction may be taken only by taxpayers who itemize their personal deductions on IRS Schedule A, instead of taking the standard deduction. Generally, only about one-third of all taxpayers itemize.

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